Monday 16 December 2019


Nibelungen  (1924 - b/w) - Epic, silent as opera from Mr. Fritz Lang.

The Squall (1929 - b/w) - Early talkie melodrama with Myrna Loy, obviously stagey.

They Met in a Taxi (1931 - b/w) - Forgettable Fay Wray romantic-comedy.

Hells Highway (1932 - b/w) - Generic Richard Dix prison punch.

Girl Missing (1933 - b/w) - Forgettable B-comedy with Ben Lyon and Glenda Farrell.

Anne of Green Gables (1934 - b/w) - Cheap, basic Classics Illustrated adap.

Les Miserables (1935)/Les Miserables (1952 - b/w) - Two Fox adaps. The first with Fredric March doesn't feel French. Charles Laughton looks like Divine in his little outfit.  The 1952 one with Michael Rennie, Robert Newton, Debra Paget, James Robertson Justice, Cameron Mitchell and weirdly, Elsa Lanchester feels like a cheap cash-in. Shooting in b/w makes it feel like a useless cover version.

The Westland Case (1937 - b/w) - Bland, generic Universal Crime Club mystery.

She Had to Eat (1937 - b/w) - Forgettable Jack Haley romcom.

It Happened in Hollywood (1937 - b/w) - Unfunny, smiles-not-laughs comedy about Richard Dix as Tom Mix, written by Samuel Fuller. Features a ton of celebrity lookalikes, and Fay Wray.

Victory (1940 - b/w) - Oh God, from Paramount, a dreary South Seas romance.

Turnabout (1940 - b/w) - Generic screwball comedy that apart from the gender-switch is quite average.

Wuthering Heights (1940 - b/w) - Olivier looks stiff. It almost looks like a western at times.

A Dispatch from Reuter's (1940 - b/w) - Edward G. Robinson in another western-feeling European period piece.

Whistling in the Dark (1941)/The Fuller Brush Man (1948 - b/w) - Was Red Skelton ever funny?

Sweater Girl (1942 - b/w) - Below-average mystery-musical college bowl with Eddie Bracken.

Now Voyager (1942 - b/w) - I can't take it seriously, because of Bette Davis' spinster outfit.

Munchausen (1943) - The Nazis' answer to Powell and Pressburger, with Brigitte Horney, future staple of badly dubbed West German kids' TV.

Hangmen Also Die (1943 - b/w) - It's stylish, because it's Fritz Lang, but at over 2 hours, it's way overlong for a quickie propaganda piece.

The Boy from Stalingrad (1943 - b/w) - Winsome American-accented brats fight Nazis in  a park. Shonky programmer.  Kids die. The end.

Margin for Error (1943 - b/w)  Shambolic tonally-awkward Nazi thriller with Milton Berle, Joan Bennett and Otto Preminger.

Cobra Woman (1944) - It's bewitchingly colourful. It's junk. Maria Montez can't act for toffee, either as heroine or villainess. It seems to be set  in both India, Arabia, the Pacific and a mythic fantasyland that can be visited by Christian missionaries and sailors. But it's nice looking junk.

Christmas Holiday (1944 - b/w) - Romance with Gene Kelly and Deanna Durbin that's regarded by some as noir, but is quite slushy.

Shady Lady (1945 - b/w) - Average musical comedy timewaster with Charles Coburn.

Blood on the Sun (1945 - b/w) - Silly yellowface-heavy James Cagney vehicle.

Where There's Life (1947 - b/w) - Entirely generic Bob Hope runaround with boy scouts.

Rogues' Regiment (1948 - b/w) - Vincent Price is a Nazi who joins the Foreign Legion in Indochine in a silly, throwaway if somewhat atmospheric noir.

The Heiress (1949 - b/w) - Generic Hollywood period drama with Olivia de Havilland.

Bagdad (1949) - Universal Arab nonsense with Maureen O'Hara as a red-haired Arab princess who sings Irish tenor-sounding Iraqi lullabies. Also with Paul Hubschmid and Vincent Price.

The Black Hand (1950 - b/w) - Generic crime drama with a miscast Gene Kelly.

The Next Voice You Hear (1950 - b/w) - Preachy Christian-themed God-on-the-radio nonsense with Nancy Reagan.

No Way Out (1950 - b/w) - Poitier and Widmark in a typical noir.

Armored Car Robbery (1950 - b/w) - Generic docunoir from Richard Fleischer.
See also The Narrow Margin (1952 - b/w).

Deadline USA (1952) - Generic newspaper thriller with Bogart.

Who Goes There! (1952 - b/w) - Generic, not-exactly-rib-tickling middle class comedy with George Cole as a Queen's Guard.

Mr. Scoutmaster (1953 - b/w) -Soft family comedy about Clifton Webb and some kids who read fake comic books.

The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955) - Apparently, this lurid but empty period true crime epic starring Joan Collins, Ray Milland and Farley Granger was a favourite of a relative. It's just Joan trying to look pretty and poignant, and it also has musical numbers. It'sa bit tonally all over the shop. It's a true crime story that thinks it is a musical.

We're No Angels (1955) - Baffling comedy with Bogart, Ustinov and Aldo Ray lolloping about screwball situations in the Pacific, while Basil Rathbone is wasted.

Killer's Kiss (1955 - b/w) - Kubrick's first proper film. Is it a B-crime movie or an art film? Christ knows.

Àttack (1956 - b/w) - This Robert Aldrich war movie with a mixture of tough guys (Jack Palance, Lee Marvin) and rural sitcom stars (Buddy Ebsen and Eddie Albert) feels reasonably authentic, considering the backlot setting.

Satellite in the Sky (1956) - Boring aeronautics saga that just happens to be set in space. By the Danziger brothers, but it is very much an attempt at prestige. With Donald Wolfit, Kieron Moore, Lois Maxwell and Bryan Forbes.

Interpol (1957 - B/w)-  Generic exotic crime film with Victor Mature, Anita Ekberg and Trevor Howard, from the Warwick stable.

Tip On A Dead Jockey (1957 - b/w) - Forgettable Robert Taylor vehicle set in Spain.

The Story of Mankind (1957) - Who is this film for? Is it supposed to educate kids? It's miscast, it wastes its stars (the Marx Brothers are separate) and it seems to be there to use stock footage.  From Irwin Allen.

Nathalie (1957 - b/w)/Secret Agent Nathalie (1959 - b/w) - Baffling noirish action comedies distributed by AIP, with Martine Carol.

Next to No Time (1958)  - Laughless Kenneth More comedy on an ocean liner.
See also John Gregson in the more slapsticky The Captain's Table (1958 - there's a literal custard pie fight).

Twilight for the Gods (1958) - Generic seafaring programmer from Universal, with Rock Hudson.

High School Confidential (1958 - b/w) - Generic juvenile delinquency with Jerry Lee Lewis. The sequel, College Confidential (1960 - b/w) has Steve Allen,  Conway Twitty and a returning Mamie van Doren. It's supposed to be sexy but feels safe and bland, with musical numbers and Elisha Cook Jr's face.

The Miracle (1959) - Sentimental dramatisation of a Napoleonic miracle, with Carroll Baker and Roger Moore, that I only watched because it frightened my mother as a child, and instilled a lifelong fear of moving statues.

The Big Circus (1959) - Tedious all-star melodrama from Irwin Allen, padding between circus acts.

Jet Storm (1959 - b/w) - Another generic air disaster movie despite serious roles for Marty Wilde and Harry Secombe.

Crack in the Mirror (1960 - b/w) - Bland Europudding melodrama with Orson Welles.

The Apartment (1960 - b/w) - I find the setting unengrossing. Yes, it's a play.

Wernher von Braun (1960  b/w) - Bland biopic with Curd Jurgens.

Whistle Down The Wind (1961 - b/w) - It's nice, but nothing more. Typical Bryan Forbes middle-class cinema, an idealised halfway house between kitchen sink and magical realism.

The Mind Benders (1963 - b/w) - Dreary SF thriller with Dirk Bogarde.

The Girl Hunters (1964 - b/w) - Tiny, underbnourished UK-made Mike Hammer adap starring Mickey Spillane as his own creation, with an incongruous sweeping soundtrack. Spillane fades into the background. He's not Mike Hammer. He's Mike Hammer's God.

Le Monocle Rit Jaune (1964 - b/w) - Dreary Eurospy with Paul Meurisse in Hong Kong, plus Barbara Steele and a West Side Story-styled action sequence. The lead suddenly turns Japanese at the end.

The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (1965 - b/w) - Forgettable all-star sexcom.

The Ghost Goes Gear (1966) - Colourful but plotless series of musical numbers for the Spencer Davis Group and Acker Bilk amongst others, with Nicholas Parsons and Jack Haig.

How I Won The War (1967)  - Silly, supposed wartime satire starring the intolerable duo of Michael Crawford and John Lennon.

The Comedians (1967) - Tedious drama set in Haiti with Burton, Taylor, Guinness, Ustinov and an all-star African-American cast doing accents. Has Sir Alec in his favourite pastime - blacking up.

Tarzan and the Great River (1967)/Tarzan and the Jungle Boy (1968) - Basically the same film. Tarzan for the Disney crowd.

Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady (1968) - Silly Phyllis Diller comedy.

Swiss Made (1968) - Futuristic plotless arty-dive from Switzerland.

Flareup (1969) - Simultaneously sleazy and tellymovie-like bland gogo-stalker thriller with Raquel Welch.

The Christmas Tree (1969)  Alongside A Dream of Kings, the prototype for schmaltzy Italian movies about dying kids. Here, William Holden and Virna Lisi's son gets radiation cancer from when a nuclear bomb detonates above a swimming spot. Bourvil is the comic relief. Predictable.

The Adding Machine (1970)  -Intolerable comedy, an attempt to launch Milo O'Shea as an American comedy star, doing yer typical Irish panto New York Jew voice that goes Dublin every so often. Also bizarrely has as his effeminate American sidekick, Julian Glover. His accent slips. It's a strange, silly but intolerable film.

Flap (1970) - Tonally all over the place comedy drama about walnut-juice-faced Native Americans, headed by Anthony Quinn who seems to be playing it as mentally challenged, with his baseball cap.

The Strawberry Statement (1970) - Bruce Davison and Kim Darby protest in intolerable if nicely shot student protest saga.
See also Getting Straight (1970) with Elliot Gould as a mature student involved in the same scrapes.

The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (1970) - Hot Twink Don Johnson tries to make a film on masturbation and grows a beard, and loses his prettiness, predating his  stubble-faced 80s self. Arty, pretentious post-Midnight Cowboy twaddle/satire on underground films that doesn't work.

Squeeze A Flower (1970) - Bland Aussie comedy about Walter Chiari as a winemaking monk, with Dave Allen, Jack Albertson, Cecil Kellaway's brother Alec (literally a cheaper version of his brother) and Sons and Daughters' Rowena Wallace.

Myra Breckinridge (1970) - Christ, what a fiasco.

Fools (1970) - Post-Love Story twaddle with Katharine Ross and Jason Robards as Vincent Price.

Brother John (1971) - Preachy racial harmony nonsense with Sidney Poitier as an angel.

Romance of a Horsethief (1971) - Russian Jewish adventure dreariness shot in Spain and Yugoslavia, with Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Birkin and Gainsbourg and introducing Oliver Tobias. It has a vaguely Harry Alan Towers-ish period scrappiness and lack of historical detail. Boring.

Kansas City Bomber (1972) - Medium Cool-ish but otherwise TV movie-esque story of Raquel Welch as a roller derby queen.

Frenzy (1972) - Rewatch. My favourite Hitchcock, probably. Plus it weirdly references Hitchcock homageur Brian Clemens, whose See No Evil is advertised on a bus.

A Warm December (1973) - Treacly Sidney Poitier passion project - black Roman Holiday/Love Story with an added cute kid daughter, George Baker as token white lead, plus the likes of Earl
Cameron lending class. But it looks very cheap, like an episode of The Persuaders!

The Mack (1973) - It certainly captures 70s Oakland.

Coffy (1973) - Pam Grier is an energetic lead, but I don't find the blaxploitation milieu of urban America that interesting.

The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder (1974) - Idiotic military-mental home com from Playboy.

Thieves Like Us (1974) -Robert Altman does a Corman-style gangster pic, slowly and plainly, plus it is set in what looks like Wicklow.

Nashville (1975) - Is it supposed to be a spoof? It feels like Altman is ripping the piss out of the country scene, in a way that  feels rather nasty.

The Man in the Glass Booth (1975)  - A great Maximillian Schell performance as a Jewish concentration camp survivor mistaken as  a Nazi can't help this adaptation of a Robert Shaw novel/play feel like a TVM. Schell's own Der Fussganger (1973) is basically the German flipside to this, but Glass Booth is much better.

Foes (1977) - Dreadful psychedelic semi-docudrama on UFOs with MacDonald Carey It only got a release theatrically in Britain.

Bobby Deerfield (1977) - A 40s romance for the New Hollywood era. Pacino is out of his depth amongst the continental aristocracy.

Angela (1977) - Like the Lana Turner vehicle Bittersweet Love the same year, this is a dreadful incest romance with Sophia Loren and her son Steve Railsback.

Target of an Assassin (1977) - Thought I saw this before, but this is a forgettable Anthony Quinn vehicle shot in South Africa by Peter Collinson.

The Stickup (1977) - Dreary, small The Sting imitation with David Soul and regular Britcom face Johnnie Wade, plus the likes of Liz Smith. Female lead Pamela McMyler does a dodgy Irish accent.

Girlfriends (1978) - Interesting, somewhat overlooked feminist feature. Youth Melanie Mayron tries to date the ancient-even-then Eli Wallach. Not my thing, but it's not bad.

An Unmarried Woman (1978) - Jill Clayburgh and Alan Bates in an overlong, meandering if somewhat amiable towards the end study of a woman by Paul Mazursky. A distaff version of Mazursky's Blume in Love (1973) - but with Bates instead of Kris Kristofferson.

They Went That-A-Way & That-A-Way (1978) - A Don Knotts and Tim Conway comedy but with Chuck McCann instead of Don Knotts. Both are appealing comic actors, but it's sub-Disney-meets-Hal Needham nonsense with the duo as convicts being chased by Richard Kiel. It's idea of a joke is McCann done up as a geisha girl.

Rich Kids (1979) - Two little shites fall in love. One's dad is John Lithgow, the other is whatshisface from Raise the Titanic/Dark Shadows/Falcon Crest.

The Runner Stumbles (1979) - A last-ditch attempt at big screen drama for Dick Van Dyke, as a priest who falls in love with young nun Kathleen Quinlan, but then tragedy strikes.  Stanley Kramer holds the film as director, but it feels like a TV movie. It is sentimental, it is rural, perfect for a busload for old nuns.

Cafe Express (1980) - Typical, baffling, sentimental though nicely-paced Italian comedy with Nino Manfredi. Has the titular train portrayed by a lovely if obvious miniature.

Lili Marleen (1981) - Fassbinder I find all gloss and no substance.

Nutcracker (1982) - Tacky, sexless attempt at Joan Collins erotica that sidelines old Joanie in favour of Finola Hughes and Paul Nicholas, and lots of half-baked Soviet espionage involving Vernon Dobtcheff in a rowing boat.

Paris, Texas (1984)  - It looks gorgeous, but it is really a miniseries.

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) - Dear God, Scorsese turns the bible into a music video for Peter Gabriel's world music.

Also skimmed Beyond Reason (-1970), an amateurish Aussie post-apocalyptic film.

The Outcasts (-1982) - RTE do folk horror.

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